Amicable Settlements

Facilitated by Alternative Means



On June 22, the American Bar Association hosted the inaugural Practice Development Institute for collaborative professionals in Chicago. The speakers included international collaborative professionals led by Forrest S. “Woody” Mosten. The event brought like-minded attorneys, therapists, mediators, social workers and financial specialists together with a common goal of peace and resolving conflicts. At the beginning of the program, pins were distributed that read, “Peacemaking: Let It Begin with Me.”

        There is a growing movement around the world to offer alternative conflict resolution strategies instead of those of the past. The traditional services of an attorney and the court are definitely useful and needed, but not all matters need to go to court to fight. In fact, we are seeing that there are many matters that can be resolved more amicably through a mediator and/or collaborative professionals. Some of the professionals involved in a collaborative divorce may include collaborative attorneys, a divorce coach, a child specialist and/or a financial specialist to assist with the asset allocation.

        To give some insight into how this works, in a collaborative divorce, each party retains an attorney and possibly other professionals to help them through the process. Everyone signs a participation agreement stating that they will not file a petition with the court until a resolution and agreement have been reached. The goal is for each of the professionals to help the parties reach a resolution, not to fight. Once an agreement has been reached, only then is the paperwork filed with and presented to the court.

        Conversely, the mediator is a neutral third party that helps the parties reach a resolution and agreement. The parties may use attorneys as counsel through mediation or to bring other professionals into the mediation process if needed.

        We are seeing a shift toward the acceptance of helping people through their legal problems in this way. It was inspiriting to hear Melissa Buckley, of the American Bar Association (ABA), speak at the program about her beliefs about the importance of this type of alternative service. Not only is the ABA promoting it, but the recent passage of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 294, which defines the collaborative practice through the Collaborative Process Act and further clarifies the attorney’s role, demonstrates an acceptance of this type of practice.

        The ABA awarded scholarships to the participants and alumni of the Justice Entrepreneur Project, an incubator founded by the Chicago Bar Foundation that helps attorneys starting their own law practices to offer alternative and progressive ways of service and billing such as flat fees, limited scope representation and unbundled services.

        Throughout the two days of the event, Mosten inspired the attendees not to be afraid to offer collaborative services or mediation to help people resolve conflicts. He offered ways for the attendees to grow their practices so that they are not only promoting this type of peacemaking, but they can be successful in it, as well.

        Resolving conflicts amicably can lead to a better outcome for all involved. This often includes helping individuals avoid health problems, feel more satisfied with their agreement, allow children to cope better and ease the parties’ transition. Although not for everyone, it has the ability to help many people looking for an alternative and peaceful way of resolving conflicts.

Cindy K. Campbell is an attorney who focuses on mediation, collaborative divorce, adoption, guardianship, wills and trusts at 150 S. Wacker Dr., Ste. 2400, in Chicago; and 236 S. Washington St., Ste. 202, in Naperville. For more information, call  866-566-9494 or visit CKCampbell.com

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Body Mind Spirit Expo Connects Us in New Ways

A noticeable shift is occurring on a health and spiritual level as more of us are determined to take an active role in taking care of our needs. Enter the Body Mind Spirit Expo.

Sitting in Circle

Many women are choosing to gather with other women on a regular basis and sit “in circle,” a safe place for a woman to speak her truth, listen to others and learn a great deal about herself.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Alexander and Newell on Living in A Mindful Universe

Alexander will share his theories of the mechanism that connect consciousness with the physical world; science supporting reality of the spiritual world.

Natural Awakenings Family of Franchises Keeps Growing

Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp. (NAPC) welcomed two new publishers to a recent training session at the corporate headquarters in Naples, Florida.

Recipes from a Farm Kitchen

The sweet, fall carrots and beets make a great salad to celebrate the rich soil where they were grown, and the spinach frittata reminds me to prepare more recipes for winter spinach harvests to come.

Individualized Testing

One of the tools Barasch uses to check digestion is a comprehensive 24-hour urinalysis, which requires collection of all urine produced in a normal day.

Keys to Happy Living Explained

The Kadampa Meditation Center (KMC) Chicago will present a public talk, The Secret to a Happy Life, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on December 1st.

From Grief to Grace

There are many areas of grief, including death, divorce, finances, relationship issues and both pet and job losses.